Handing in the petition

The Partido Popular opposition group of Orihuela, along with Bob Houliston of the CLARO group and Asunción Mayoral from the CLR, both of who were expelled from the government, collectively signed a Censure Motion which they intended would return them to power in the municipality within weeks.

The group had attempted the move once before, only to fall at the last hurdle when one of the PP members, Rodríguez Barberá, refused to sign as the regional Partido Popular had not given their approval for the former Mayor, Mónica Lorente, to lead the party as she faced a court hearing in a potential fraud case. With Barberá refusing to sign, so did Asunción Mayoral, stating that she would only put her name to the document if the entire PP group were behind it.

The regional group did object to Lorente leading the way, making their feelings clear, which resulted in a standoff for a while, until Pepa Ferrando emerged as the one to lead the party instead of Lorente, which gained the approval of the regional administration, allowing all twelve to sign, although with Mayoral still flaunting her insecurities by being the last person to put her name to it.

In order for the motion to be legally valid, the opposition requires a minimum of 13 signatures, and with the 14 they now have, it seemed likely to proceed, but the validity of both Houliston and Mayoral was still brought into question, thus rendering their signatures invalid, taking the opposition back down to 12 votes, one below the minimum.

Specifically, the ruling issued by the city clerk said that, “The motion does not meet the requirements of Article 197.1 of the Electoral Regime Law General”. However, seemingly ignoring the legal standing, the 12 councilors of the PP and the two not assigned presented the motion to the city clerk.

The Mayor of the municipality, Monserrate Guillén, said that “Mónica Lorente and Pepa Ferrando have been made fools of again, and have shown that instead of worrying about the problems of Orihuela, they only care about the scandal with their own party”, continuing, “I regret that the provincial and regional presidents of their party have allowed this shameful spectacle”.

The general secretary for the PSOE Gaspar Zarrías, has Deputy Secretary General of Regional Policy and Local PP, Javier Arenas, to “stop once and for all, all attempts to file a censure motion”, because, in his opinion, Orihuela “needs” a government that “carries out its work with honesty and transparency", and stressed that in the list of signatories of the motion, “there are four people charged for alleged corruption, and two defectors”.

The motion could still be presented and carried, if the motion obtains the support of the other original two members of the CLR – CLARO group, those of both Pedro Mancebo and Juan Ignacio López-Bas. Mancebo has long said that he would do anything to prevent Lorente becoming mayor, but as this door has been forced closed on her, this may be a viable option, but that too would cause friction between Houliston and Mencebo, as was clear in the final period of their partnership.

Despite not being in the running to be mayor, Lorente is still very much in the forefront of the party, as the spokesperson for the group, she insisted that the group remains willing to negotiate a possible deal with the CLR councilors, in order to validate the desired motion of censure, but said that “the conditions are neither the chair nor the salary but the general interest”.

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/40211/

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